Arkansas man gets 10-year sentence in Ecstasy case

BY FAITH HUFFMAN, News-Telegram News Editor

Feb. 7, 2008 - A 29-year-old Arkansas man preparing to go to trial Wednesday morning on a 2006 drug charge opted instead to take a plea agreement.

Dorahn Roseby pleaded guilty to possession of more than 400 grams of Ecstasy in exchange for a 10-year sentence. He was accused of having two bags containing more than 400 grams each of the controlled substance when he was pulled over in the fall of 2006 during a routine Interstate 30 traffic stop by Sulphur Springs Police Lt. Buddy Williams.

After Roseby plead guilty, the entire jury panel, including two alternates, remained in the courtroom to talk to Assistant District Attorney Steve Lilley, Williams, defense attorney Heath Hyde and Special Crimes Unit Lt. Ron Plaxco about the case.

Hyde explained that he had spoken to the defendant, as well as some of his family members, and recommended that the defendant take the plea deal offered by the district attorney's office. Roseby, after talking more with family from Arkansas, indicated he would take the deal if the offer was still on the table. Lilley agreed. The judge also upheld the deal, according to the district attorney's office.

A conviction could have resulted in life in prison for the aggravated felony charge.

Lilley told the jurors Williams had stopped Roseby in a rental car for a traffic violation. Williams said he could smell a strong odor of marijuana in the car. When Roseby refused to let him search the car, he retrieved his canine partner. The dog alerted on the trunk of the car. The two bags of green Ecstasy pills, which weighed about 1 pound total, were found in the main part of the car.

The officials explained, on questioning by the jurors, that odor inside a car travel quickly, blown through the vents. Odors drift back to the trunk area where it is trapped, becoming concentrated due to the lack of ventilation. The marijuana odor was strongest in the trunk, hence the dog's alert on the area.

Lilley said that, following a required period, a portion of the Ecstasy seized in the case will be used to train canines of drug interdiction officers for detection of the substance. The rest will be destroyed.

Williams said that while he believes SSPD canines will likely alert on Ecstasy because they contain methamphetmine, some people question whether drug-sniffing dogs do detect and alert on Ecstasy as contraband.

When asked what if any medical purposes and potential negative affects Ecstasy has on the body, the officials explained to the jurors that the drug acts like "speed" -- it can keep a person up for a day or two at a time. Research indicates some psychologists and psychiatrists in the 1960s prescribed Ecstasy as a therapy aid because it's not as addictive as methamphetamine. It has no legal uses in the United States, however, and is manufactured only here only illegally, although some other countries, such as Holland, allow it.

Use of Ecstasy can lead to heart attack,s rapid or irregular heartbeat and brain damage, according to authorities.

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